THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 259 difference, however, was in the study of the languages. The distrust with which St. Cyran regarded the classics had given way to a real appreciation of their cultural value, and much care was taken in the teaching of them. But while in this respect the Little Schools drew closer to the general practice, there was one signi- ficant departure from common usage. The language of instruction throughout was not Latin but French. And with this went an emphasis on those aspects of classical study that made for a better grasp of the native language. Translation into good French was considered more important than translation from French into Latin or Greek. In short, the teachers of Port Royal had made the great discovery that French was well worthy of study for its own sake. " Considering the point of perfection which our language has reached," says Coustel (writing about the methods of the Schools many years later), " it surely deserves that we should cultivate it a little. As a matter of fact it has never been so rich in its expressions, so noble in its phrases, so precise and so pregnant in its epithets, so subtle in its turns and circumlocutions, so majestic in its motions, so brilliant in its metaphors, and, finally, so natural and so perfectly magnificent and lofty in its verse, as it is at present. It would then be shameful for children to be barbarians in their own country, while all the nations are striving, one against the other, to learn all the beauties of this language and to perfect themselves in it."* The founder's love of children, passing to disciples whose study of Descartes had made them seek clearness and distinctness of thought, led, on the one hand, to the desire for a more intimate knowledge of child nature as the basis of educational work; and, on the other hand, to a constant endeavour to find methods of instruction which would remove every avoidable difficulty from the way of their pupils. The first was perhaps the more important of the two, for it led to the beginnings of child study. Coustel, for example, enunciates the principle that the teacher must take account of the differences of mental type displayed by his pupils. " If a physician cannot prescribe remedies suitable for the healing of the body without knowing its various temperaments, and if a farmer ought not to set about sowing a field without knowing the quality of its soil, then beyond doubt a schoolmaster should also know the different kinds of intellect which he has to * Barnard, The Little Schools of Port Royal, p. 119.